Walking wet in the desert
By Lance Kittleson
Today a young female soldier came to be baptized at the large tent that serves as a chapel at Camp Virginia in Kuwait. On one side of the chapel a briefing occurs. On the other the soldier and I stand by the altar: two cobbled wooden shipping crates with no paraments. I quietly read Ephesians 2:8:9 to the her. She had spoken to me days earlier about her fears, her background and her many sorrows, including the sorrow when the pastor from her home church told her she was not worthy to be baptized in Jesus name.
Now on the eve of war, this young trooper wanted to know Jesus was for her, not against her. She wanted to be part of Jesus family. I told her baptism is a gift of God and none of us can ever be good enough for it.
Looking into her eyes, I said,
This is Gods gift to you because he has always loved you. He will never love you more or less than he already does.Then followed the most unique baptism I have ever done. We had no font and the only congregation was the commanders and staff officers who quizzically looked on. I poured the promise of God in Christ out on the soldiers head from a liter of bottled water. Three times the water of grace flowed off her head and down her cheeks, where it mixed with her tears. I wiped her head with my red farmers bandana and said,
You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.
As I don my helmet with desert camouflage and a cross sewed on the front, snap on the web gear and grab my chemical equipment pack which goes with the gas mask that never leaves a modern day soldiers side, I think how like that gas mask Gods Spirit will go with that young soldier everywhere.
As I waddle along with my 25 pounds of equipment, I carry a liter of water, taking a good gulp every few hundred meters. Soon I realize I am drinking from the same bottle of water that just baptized a new child of God. Maybe that parallels the believers life in Christ too. Baptism is a one time event, but it is also a daily gulping of the gift of Gods love as we trudge through our own deserts of life. For in taking those gulps of daily grace, we can be assured that no matter what our battlers may be, God will never forget us or forsake his children of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord.